Lava shoots up from volcano on La Palma in Spanish Canary Islands
From Borja Suarez
LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) - A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday, throwing lava fountains and a cloud of smoke and ash from the Cumbre Vieja National Park in the south of the island into the air.
The authorities had already started evacuating the sick and some farm animals from the surrounding villages before the outbreak, which took place at 3:15 p.m. on a wooded slope in the Cabeza de Vaca area. (1415 GMT), according to the Islands Government.
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Immediately after the outbreak, the community issued a statement calling on residents to "exercise extreme caution" and stay away from the area and the streets.
The people of the surrounding villages were asked to go to one of five centers to be evacuated and soldiers were used to help.
Spanish television showed fountains of lava shooting into the sky, and billows of smoke could be seen from all over the island.
There had been more than 22,000 quakes this week in the area of Cumbre Vieja, a volcanic chain that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canary Islands.
The earliest recorded volcanic eruption on La Palma took place in 1430, according to the Spanish National Geographic Institute (ING).
In 1971 a man was killed while taking photos near the lava flows, but no property was damaged.
(Reporting by Graham Keeley and Borja Suarez; writing by Toby Chopra and Kevin Liffey; editing by Gareth Jones)
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